The Founding of the EMC Society: My View

The celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the founding of the IEEE EMC Society occurred during the 2007 IEEE International EMC Symposium held in Honolulu, Hawaii. In attendance were society co-founders, namely and alphabetically: Samuel Burrano, Milton Kant, James NcNaul, Vincent Mancino, Ralph Showers and me. Most impressive were: the hall of fame depicting photographs of significant members and their biographies; a film and booklet of the society’s history, including excerpts of interviews with significant society members, and a display of many early tools of our profession. Viewing that museum and discussion with other co-founders stirred my memories, especially about the founding of our society.
Circa 1956, talk among RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) engineers earnestly began on forming a group, especially at the second conference on RFI conducted by the Armour Research Foundation (ARI). Rexford Daniels printed that talk in his newsletter “Quasies and Peaks” and suggested that interested people contact Milton Kant and Harold Schwenk, RFI Engineers at the Sperry Gyroscope Company on Long Island, New York.
In February 1957, at the third ARI RFI, several other RFI engineers and I met with Harold Schwenk and Milton Kant to discuss the formation of such a group. Later that year, I went to work for Milton. Soon thereafter, Milton arranged a meeting and invited interested engineers of the New York City and Long Island areas to attend a meeting in New York City to discuss the formation of an RFI group and whether it should affiliate with the IRE (forerunner to the IEEE), or be independent, like the one in the Los Angeles area that had been brought to our attention by Fred Nichols. Harold and I wanted to be independent and Milton argued for affiliation.
Later on in 1957, the meeting convened in New York City. After hearing the arguments for IRE affiliation, especially those by Laurence Cumming and Rexford Daniels, I wrote Harold a note that I was going to vote for affiliation, he replied: me too. Overwhelmingly, the vote was for affiliation. Subsequently, Milton put the finishing touches on a petition for submittal to the IRE for a Professional Group on RFI (PGRFI) that was approved on October 10, 1957.
On November 10, 1957 at the first meeting of the Administration Committee, Harold Schwenk became our Founding President and Milton Kant served a three-year term where he chaired the committee to prepare a draft of a Constitution.
Note: More detailed information about the founding of the EMC Society can be found the PGRFI Newsletter, Number 1, January 2,1958. The author may be contacted at

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